A large assault on business is being planned by organized labor, according to Glenn Spencer of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Spencer said that organized labor is seeking an increase in the minimum wage and passage of the Employee Free Choice Act. If passed by Congress and signed by the President Barack Obama, the legislation would deprive workers of a secret ballot in unionization elections.
Spencer made his remarks at the 2010 Business-Legislative Summit sponsored by the California Chamber of Commerce. The summit took place on May 17 and 18 at the Sacramento Convention Center. Spencer’s speech was entitled “Labor’s Federal Agenda: What You Don’t Know Can Hurt You.”
According to Spencer, Donald Trumka (pictured), head of the AFL-CIO, said that the labor organization intends to “stand by our friends and punish our enemies.”
Spencer said that the Service Employees International Union plans to punish elected Democrats who do not vote for union-friendly legislation.
Fifty years ago, Spencer said, one-third of all American workers belonged to unions. He added that today 12.3 percent of the work force is unionized.
Spencer said that labor unions are vigorously pushing the Employee Free Choice Act, also known as Card Check. Under the act, workers who want to join a union will simply have to check the proper space on a card and sign their names.
Under current law, workers who want a union have to participate in a government-run election that involves secret ballots.
Service Employees International Union plans to punish elected Democrats who do not vote for union-friendly legislation.
Former U.S. Senator George McGovern (D-SD) said in a Wall Street Journal essay in August 2008 that he opposes Card Check because the legislation would not preserve the secret ballot. McGovern was the Democratic Party’s 1972 nominee for President.
During his Sacramento speech, Spencer said that unions want to abolish unpaid intern positions at for-profit firms. He added that unions want to have more control over corporations by participating in corporate shareholder activities.
According to printed information disseminated at Spencer’s speech, “organized labor spent $450 million to buy power and influence in Washington” in 2008. The information was prepared by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which is located in Washington, D.C.